On a bitterly cold New Year’s Eve in 1996, an aging cocker spaniel aimlessly wandered the streets of Somerville, Massachusetts, searching for a familiar landmark, a friendly face. He had been abandoned by his heartless owners and forced to fend for himself. Freezing cold and starving, the little black cocker was essentially left to die a slow and painful death.
But thankfully, the kindness of strangers prevailed. He had the good fortune to seek shelter at the home of a Good Samaritan who took in the frightened but trusting cocker, dismayed to find no collar or identification – a sure sign of a dump and run. She noticed the odd way he walked; to her horror, she discovered why. An oozing orange-sized lump was growing on his underbelly. Other signs of neglect were also apparent. How long had he been suffering like this?
This cocker angel contacted CSRNE, who took over the care of this sweet senior. We named him Joey, and from this point on, his world was filled with hope and promise. His tumor was removed but, as feared, it was diagnosed as malignant. Because of the tumor’s enormous size, the prognosis for complete recovery was doubtful. As with all cancers, the sooner the treatment, the better, and judging from its size, this tumor had been festering for a long, long time.
It is impossible to compare Joey’s present environment with that of his previous one. He is now an active, happy boy who loves playing with his toys and his devoted foster mom’s other dogs. But, needless to say, his days have been cut short because of the rapidly spreading cancer, caught too late to treat effectively.
Hard to believe but Joey was actually one of the “lucky” ones. He was taken in by a compassionate person and found his way into the safety net of CSRNE. He now is being nurtured in a loving home which will be his last. His ordeals of the past will be replaced by the love and devotion of his wonderful new family, and he will spend his last moments in the arms of someone who loves him. Doesn’t every dog deserve this much?
When Joey’s story was first published in the CSRNE newsletter, many kind and generous members sent donations to help with Joey’s past and present medical expenses. Therefore in honor of this brave little cocker, we have established the Joey Fund, proceeds of which will be earmarked specifically for cockers with extraordinary medical needs.
Update: July 1, 2000
We knew this day would come, the day we would learn that Joey finally succumbed to the cancer he had for so long successfully beaten. Since his rescue in January 1997, Joey had some setbacks but he always bounced back, resumed eating everything in sight, and thoroughly enjoyed life with his devoted foster mom and canine buddies.
Joey was a survivor. We hoped that he was the cocker with nine lives and that he would live well into the new millennium. Now this most precious of cockers was gone, this dog who gave his name to CSRNE’s Joey Fund.
Joey’s legacy is simply wonderful. Close to 100 cockers with serious medical problems have been successfully treated and adopted since the Joey Fund was established in 1997. Treatments for kidney disease, bladder stones, heartworm disease, cataracts, and severe skin infections have been successfully performed. Tumors have been removed, broken bones have been set, ablations have eased chronic ear pain, and one cocker even had open-heart surgery.
Through these cockers, Joey’s legacy lives on. And his spirit lives on in those who rescued, nurtured and loved him.
Donate to the Joey fund for veterinary care and medical needs - The Joey Fund:
A special “high paws” thank you to all our donors!